City Guide

Four hours in Sydney

30 Sep 2015 by Valerian Ho

1. Sydney Fish Market

Get started with some fresh seafood. Sydney Fish Market is the third-largest in the world, trading an average of 50 tonnes of seafood every day. You can find a wide range of oceanic treasures including mussels, crabs, yellow fin tuna, lobsters and oysters. 

Chefs are on hand to prepare your catch into delicious sashimi, or cook in a style of your choice, which you can enjoy sitting outside the market, overlooking Blackwattle Bay. However, beware the “flying thieves” (seagulls) who will steal your food given half a chance! The site features numerous restaurants and cafés, a bakery, gourmet deli, greengrocer, bottle shop, fishing supplies store and gift shop. Open 7am-4pm daily, Fri-Sun until 5pm; Bank Street, Pyrmont, NSW 2009;

2. Pitt Street Mall and Sydney Tower Eye 

From the market, take a 15-minute taxi to the CBD (about A$8/US$5.60). Pitt Street Mall is the perfect place for shopaholics, a pedestrianised precinct filled with retail centres such as Glasshouse, Myer and David Jones featuring fashion brands including Cue, Zimmerman and Topshop. The other attraction worth visiting in the area is the city’s tallest building, Sydney Tower Eye. The entrance is on level five of the Westfield retail centre. Before taking an elevator up the dizzying 309-metre tower, you will be directed to watch a five-minute 4D movie showcasing the famous harbour, coastline and iconic landmarks with great in-theatre effects. When you reach the 360-degree observation deck, enjoy views of Hyde Park and Sydney Harbour, and even as far as Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains. 

Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000; opening hours depend on individual shops;; 100 Market St, Sydney; tickets from A$26.50/US$18.60; open daily 9am-9.30pm (October 4 to April 24 until 10pm);


3. Bridge Climb

It’s time to test your nerve! Take a ten-minute taxi to The Rocks and get ready to climb the Harbour Bridge. No Dutch courage allowed here, as an alcohol test is a mandatory precursor to the event. A guide leads the group, introducing you to the history of the famous landmark as you go. With Sydney Harbour and the Opera House as a backdrop, this is a great photo opportunity to capture an unforgettable moment. For those short on time – or scared of heights – the Sampler route (from A$148/US$106) takes around 1.5 hours without reaching the top, while the 2.25-hour Bridgeclimb Express (from A$228/US$160) is the fastest way to reach the top of the bridge. Climbs can be scheduled at dawn, day, twilight or night; 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks, NSW 2000;


4. The Glenmore 

After challenging yourself, it’s time to chill out. A favourite watering hole with locals, The Glenmore Hotel is just a few steps from the bridge. The historic building was originally built on the other side of Cumberland Street in the 1840s, but was relocated in 1921 due to the construction of the Harbour Bridge. The ground floor is a traditional pub, while the middle floor can be rented for cocktail parties and private dining. The must-see rooftop bar is a popular spot, buzzing with people throughout the day who come for the beautiful harbour views while enjoying beer, champagne and rooftop jugs of Pimms (from A$6.5/US$4.6 per glass) alongside salads, burgers and beef ribs (from A$9.5/US$6.7 to A$28.5/US$20). Open daily 11am-12 midnight, Fri & Sat until 1am; 96 Cumberland St, The Rocks;

5. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Walk five minutes in the direction of Sydney Cove, and you’ll reach the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which houses a diverse collection of visual arts from painting and photography to sculpture and moving images. Current exhibition My Fellow Aus-Tra-Aliens (until October 18), presents artworks from Aleks Danko, who has spent nearly five decades turning his personal history into conceptual art. Other art features include Loop. A Model of How the World Operates. The museum is open daily 10am-5pm, Thu until 9pm; free admission. 140 George St, The Rocks;

6. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

The last stop is a stroll to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, to capture the view you always find on postcards. The 30-minute walk from the museum along the bank of Sydney Cove and Farm Cove isn’t taxing, but you can take a 10-minute taxi ride if you prefer. Alternatively, board the Choo Choo Express train (A$10/US$7) at Royal Botanic Gardens to reach the Chair in 25 minutes. The Chair is a rock carved into the shape of a bench for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth in 1810, who used to sit there and enjoy the panoramic harbour view. Create your own postcard moment and capture an iconic memory of Sydney.

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